Mississippi Edition


10/8/20 - Local Mask Mandates | Transplantations | Poll Watching | Book Club: Mississippi Poets

The statewide mandate has expired, but some local leaders are still requiring residents to mask up. 

And, UMMC conducts over 200 transplants per year. We examine how these life changing procedures have been affected by the pandemic.

Then, the President called for supporters to watch the polls on Election Day, but how legal is the practice?

Plus, in our Book Club, forty-seven poets associated with Mississippi are showcased with the aim of cementing poetry's place in today’s culture.

Segment 1:

New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have increased this week in Mississippi, and health officials have concerns about residents not wearing masks in public. Last week, Governor Tate Reeves chose to allow his mask mandate to expire, but some local officials are choosing to extend orders within their jurisdiction. MPB's Kobee Vance talks with Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton and Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs.

The expiration of the statewide is generating some concern among health care leaders. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the state's equilibrium is unraveling. Vice Chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center Louann Woodward has recently stated she would have liked to see the mandate extended.  Aside from being the only Tier I Trauma Center, UMMC also performs over 200 transplants be year. Transplantation specialist Dr. Christopher Anderson says the pandemic has presented additional challenges for transplant recipients and doctors.

Segment 2:

The 2020 General Election is less than four weeks away, and President Donald Trump, who has been sowing doubts into the legitimacy of the election, has called for his supporters to watch the polls. The practice of poll watching varies from state to state, and watchers usually work for candidates or political parties to observe how the election is being conducted. In Mississippi, the Secretary of State’s office requires they be at least 150 feet away from entrances and only two are allowed inside. Damon Hewitt is with the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He tells our Desare Frazier the national organization is concerned about poll watchers or others intimidating voters.

Segment 3:

In Mississippi, the importance of poetry is cemented in today’s culture. In the book, “Mississippi Poets,” author Catharine Savage Brosman introduces readers to the poets themselves, stressing their versatility and diversity. Her book is both a source of information and a showcase. She tells us that the poets included span many years and work influenced by personal experiences and Mississippi itself.

More Episodes


10/22/20 - Absentee Voting Lawsuit Reaction | Medical Marijuana Debate Heats Up | Book Club: Rick Cleveland

Voter advocacy groups respond to a federal ruling opening a door to curbside voting and the opportunity to "cure" rejected ballots.Then, as the election draws nearer, the arguments for and against Initiative 65 are being amplified.Plus, in today’s Book Club … “Stories from 125 years of Ole Miss Football.”Segment 1:Voting rights advocates say they’re chipping away at Mississippi laws that restrict voting in Mississippi. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit to expand absentee voting during the coronavirus pandemic. The case was dismissed. But not without agreed provisions from the secretary of state’s office including curb-side Election Day voting and the chance to "cure" rejected ballots.Attorney Jennifer Nwachukwu and Corey Wiggins of the MS NAACP talk with our Desare Frazier.Segment 2:The debate over if and how Mississippi will legalize medical marijuana is heating up.This week, coalitions on both side of the issue went public with efforts to make their voices heard.Segment 3:The University of Mississippi has a long and storied history of its football teams and coaches.A year ago, Publisher and editor, Neil White, along with Rick Cleveland and other writers gathered together hundreds of tales for the book, “Stories from 125 years of Ole Miss Football” … the ten greatest victories, the ten most disappointing defeats, the undefeated season no one remembers and as Cleveland details, the coach who got his team drunk during the game.

10/21/20 - Federal Ruling on Rejected Ballots | State Fair Extended | Severe Weather Season

**This episode was produced during Fall Drive and is shorter to provide time on air for drive.Participate in our Fall Drive by visiting mpbonline.org**A federal ruling allows Mississippi voters to correct rejected absentee ballots.Then, at the urging of vendors, the commissioner of agriculture extends the state fair.Plus, since 1950 more strong tornados have occurred in November than any other month except May. We examine what causes Mississippi’s severe fall weather.Segment 1:A federal judge's ruling is instructing the Mississippi Secretary of State's office to allow voters the chance to correct rejected absentee ballots.The provision, which is a result of a federal lawsuit brought by voting rights organizations to expand absentee voting in the state, says ballots rejected due to signature problems will be eligible for correction.Christy Wheeler is with the League of Women Voters of Mississippi, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. She tells our Desare Frazier this ruling doesn't account for the missed opportunities to expand absentee voting.Segment 2:The Mississippi State Fair was scheduled to end Sunday. But after conversations with fair vendors, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson is extending the event.The fair's first weekend was significantly affected by Hurricane Delta - shortening operating hours and driving attendance down.The coronavirus pandemic also presented challenges with capacity limits and social distance monitoring.Gipson tells our Kobee Vance he hopes the combination of favorable weather and eager vendors will make for a successful extended weekend.Segment 3:The forecast calls for sunny skies, but residents across the state will be hearing the sounds of tornado sirens this morning.The alarm is part of a statewide tornado drill happening in observance of Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Week.Since 1950, November has experienced more strong tornadoes than any other month besides May. Meteorologist John Moore is with the National Weather Service in Jackson.He says severe weather occurs when cooler air from the north overtakes warmer air masses in the south.

10/20/20 - New County Mask Mandates | MS Connects Devices go to Schools | Severe Weather Prep Week

**This episode was produced during Fall Drive and is shorter to provide time on air for drive.Participate in our Fall Drive by visiting mpbonline.org**The Governor issues tightened restrictions on targeted countries as coronavirus cases increase.Then, the CARES Act-funded Mississippi Connects program delivers devices to school districts.Plus, MEMA helps prepare residents for severe fall weather.Segment 1:Governor Tate Reeves is taking additional measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 following a weeks-long trend of growing cases and hospitalizations. A new executive order, issued today, introduces targeted measures in nine Mississippi counties. Reeves says the role of government interaction should be as limited as possible.Hospitalization rates are growing according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.He also says there has been a shift in communities most recently affected by COVID-19. Dobbs says the testing and tracing elements are in place to fight continued mitigation, but indicates Mississippians are missing a vital piece.Segment 2:Computer devices by the thousands continue to make their way to Mississippi school districts for students and teachers across the state studying virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.The devices are being distributed as a part of the CARES Act-funded Mississippi Connects program.We hear from John Kramen of the Mississippi Department, and our Desare Frazier speaks with Okolona Superintendent Chad Spence.Segment 3:This week is Fall Severe Weather Preparedness Week, and the Mississippi Management Agency wants residents to understand the various threats fall weather can bring to the state.Malary White is the External Affairs Director for MEMA.She tells our Michael Guidry, while Mississippians commonly associate tornadoes with the spring months of April and May, the fall months can bring their fair share of storms as well.